Blue Deal eSwatini / Swaziland - Waterschap Vechtstromen
Eswatini experiences a subtropical climate, with wet & humid summers and cool- dry winters. However, climate change has resulted in erratic weather patterns involving increased average temperatures and reduced precipitation. These entail high-frequency flood events and intensified drought-related competing water issues which negatively impact the hydrological balance, subsequently the agricultural and water sector. A variation of surface flows in rivers and streams is experienced with lower-base flows in the dry season, the yields of staple crops have decreased in turn threatening national food security. Furthermore, the negative impacts of climate change in the country are exacerbated by the preceding and prevalent issues of poverty, unemployment, and HIV.
The adverse effects of climate change call for an integrated and holistic approach to managing our vulnerable natural resources. Therefore, the Joint River Basin Authorities – Project Board (JRBA-PB) works to mitigate and reduce the risk effects of increased global warming, through improving water resources management systems in Eswatini. As a Young Expert within the organization, I have the opportunity to be part of transformative decision-making and innovative solutions aimed at ensuring efficient utilization and management of water resources. YEP programmes, on the other hand, bridges the gap in my capacity as a young professional in the work context. For example, the Water-Energy-Food nexus masterclass has been ideal in making it practical on how the WEF analysis tools can be used to inform policy framework.
Accounting within local river basins
The JRBA-PB is currently implementing an “All hands on deck” project, under the blue deal programme and one of the aims is to improve water use accounting within local river basins. As such, the transboundary Usuthu basin which covers about two-thirds of the country is piloted for use under the HydroNET platform. The pilot includes using GIS to account for and provide a baseline for the status of our water resources further establishing the hydrological balance of the basin. This will permit a complete understanding of the system relating to the distribution of resources, give an indication and raise alarm on probable water stress, further probing for the maximization of water use efficiency and productivity amongst our users. As a Young Expert, I have the leverage of taking lead in enacting these adaptive measures and building resilience in the way in which Eswatini manages her natural ecosystem.
I realize the magnitude of work that has to be done towards managing our water resources and acknowledge the opportunity to be involved in the core activities that will grow the mileage on attaining sustainable development goals. I look forward to learning and growing within the spheres, continue to participate in transnational activities that create a hub for promoting shared experiences in this decade of leaving no one behind.